Every site in the Stack Exchange network has an article entitled What topics can I ask about here?. This article helps new visitors to the site understand site norms and whether their potential question is appropriate for the community.

This article can be edited by the site's moderators by clicking the "Edit" link at the bottom of the page.

Currently, Bioinformatics' version of this page is the default generic text.

Should /help/on-topic be edited by the site's moderators to indicate what can be asked here?

  • $\begingroup$ As a bit of back story, we got a question on another network site which I thought could be a fit for this community; but when I went to refer the user to your help center, I found that it was the default. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it should. Thanks for the nudge. $\endgroup$
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 14:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks @IanCampbell ... we certainly must do this, it's definitely needed. We'll answer when the task is complete. $\endgroup$
    – M__ Mod
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


Here's a start on something that could be used. Feel free to edit / improve:

Bioinformatics is the process, or art, of converting biological research outputs into something that can be better understood by other researchers. Bioinformatics can be considered as the intersection of biology, computer science, and maths or statistics. Most bioinformaticians have expertise in one or two of these areas, with more shallow knowledge in the other areas.

Bioinformatics is a very large subject area, frequently with many different solutions to the same problem. As such, it's difficult to give precise instructions on what questions are appropriate. In general, if it's about a mixture of biology and computer science or math, it's probably appropriate.

Because of the breadth of research and solutions available, the most important thing about asking questions on this site is to include plenty of context surrounding your problem to help guide answers. This makes sure that answers will be most appropriately tailored to your own problem; general questions and answers in bioinformatics are rarely helpful to anyone.

  • Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

  • If your problem is related to an error produced from software, please include the full text of that error.

  • Please avoid screenshots of text. Copy & paste the text into the body of your question and use the code formatting to improve display. If you have trouble with text formatting, the community can help with that.

  • Please include version numbers of any software tools you use. This helps to identify any version-specific bugs or user interface changes.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Bioinformatics Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ could be good to remind question-writers to avoid screenshots of text, and to include versions of software/stack if asking about an issue with a particular tool. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 26 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I've added that in. $\endgroup$
    – gringer Mod
    Commented Jan 27 at 0:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .